What photo gear do I still need??

Jun 11th, 2008, 03:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
What photo gear do I still need??

This is what I have:

Sony Handycam DVD 120x digital zoom with super steady shot camcorder with nine 30 minute recording discs.

Canon power shot A520 4x zoom 4 megapixels which husband will use. SD cards total 4 GB.

Canon EOS Rebel XTi(digital SLR camera)
18-55 mm lens came with camera
70-210 mm zoom lens will fit-used with Canon EOS Rebel 2000 SLR film camera
6 GB total compact flash cards

Wolverine PSD 60 GB

charger for rechargeable batteries

This is my question:
How much more compact flash should I buy
Should I buy the Canon 100-400 L IS USM lens or get a better digital point and shoot than the Canon A520
Should I buy a bean bag

We will be in Africa total 18 days in August. I am novice photographer but take loads of pictures when on vacation. I really want to be able to get some good close shots of the wildlife but not of the birds as I know you really need a lot of zoom for that. I will be taking pictures of the birds but don't expect to get shots like Bill_H does. Stimulus check will pay for what I still need to get. I looked into renting the 100-400 but would cost $200 and I thought maybe could use 100-400 for other trips if I decide to buy it. I guess what I'm asking is which will give me the better close shot-the 100-400 lens or a better point & shoot with more zoom than what I currently have. Thanks for any help. All advice greatly appreciated!

chris45ny is offline  
Jun 11th, 2008, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,923
Like you, I'm an amateur that likes to take a lot of pics on vacation and spent 18 days in Africa.

I sucked it up and bought the 100-400 IS and was so happy I did (see my photo at www.pbase.com/hills27/sa2007/). So, I say rent/buy it over buying a new point and shoot. You'll be so much happier. The alternative is to buy an extender for the 70-210, but my mom didn't get nearly the photos I did, especially in low light.

In addition, I'd bring a waterproof pillow case (a tip I read about here that was a godsend). It helps keep the dust out of your camera while you are driving around.

I think you have enough cards, since you have backup. But I'd make sure you have lots of extra batteries just in case some go bad.

Finally, I didn't use a bean bag, but I was in South Africa where there wasn't anyplace to put it. The IS worked so well, I didn't really miss it.
hills27 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2008, 04:14 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,513
Chris where are you going and with which company. The reason I ask is that your safari company may have bean bags that you can use. Ours did & they were perfect. Just make sure you ask them in case they need to reserve it for you.
jules39 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2008, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 579
chris, the 100-400mm canon lens is really a great all around safari choice. On a 1.6 crop camera (Rebel XTi0 it has a really nice long reach (equal to 640mm on a 35 mm camera). If you are going to East Africa it will be just about perfect. Get a bean bag or two (Safari Sacks by Kinesis.com) are an absolute necessity. In East Africa you can shoot in the Aperature priority mode and reduce your shutter speeds significantly by using a bean bag. I have shot at 1/60 second, using bean bags and still been satisfied with the result. I cannot say anything negative about the small point and shoot cameras but once you get home you will certainly see how unfovorable your results compare between the two types of camera. I think it pays to bring a smaller camera along for the in-camp pictures but for the scenic and wildlife images stick with an SLR. Another point to keep in mind about the 100-400mm lens is that when possible stop it down an f stop or two. That usually isn't possible in dim, early morning or evening light but when it is possible the lens becomes much sharper at the smaller f stop. Another reason to get the 100-400 mm lens is that you will not have to change lenses often, if at all. Lens changing is a major source of dust and in Africa it is alwys in the air (expcet after heavy rain). Flash memory has become inexpensive enough so that you can take along much more than the 6GB you mention. I would get at least 16 GB more compact flash and shoot in Raw + JPEG. You can take the bean bags along empty and fill them once you arrive at camp or stop at a local market (rice or beans). A waterproof pillowcase is a good place to rest your camera while between stops. Regards-Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Jun 11th, 2008, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
You can rent the 100 - 400mm lens, if that one interests you. I know that there have been several people here on the Board that have rented lenses just for their safari. If you don't choose to do that, you might consider using a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter to extend the reach of your 210mm zoom.
ShayTay is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,923
If you backup every night or two, I don't think you will need any more memory. I had fewer cards then you will, shot in RAW + JPEG, took 400+ pics on one game drive alone, and don't remember ever needing more than 2 cards in one day.
hills27 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2008, 05:45 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,314
We had an almost identical setup to yours for our safari in February 2007, when I took about 2500 photos in two weeks. I am an amateur but avid photographer and have the European version of the Rebel XTi and a Canon 100-400 IS zoom. My husband used our Canon point-and-shoot and a videocamera. (The smaller camera was good to have around when I had the zoom on my camera and couldn't get wide-angle shots of landscapes and such.) I had an old 70-210 lens that worked on my Canon film SLR but decided to invest in the longer lens for this trip and it was SO WORTH IT! You will definitely get excellent animal shots and even birds if you are within about 50 yards or so. And if you like to do photography in general you will surely get your money's worth out of it in the future.

I didn't have a bean bag and never felt the need for one. I did bring a full-size tripod and ended up using it only once!
hausfrau is offline  
Jul 14th, 2008, 01:58 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 65
I used 2 cameras (Canon 10D+30D) and 4 lenses (17-40mm, 28-135mm, 70-200mm & 100-400mm)and a Digimate photo wallet on this safaris trip. Bean bag is necessary to support your camera, easy to hand make one 10"x10"if you don't want to buy. Have a look my photos I took from last yr.


yi is offline  
Jul 14th, 2008, 04:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 343
Without a doubt buy/rent a 100-400. Its my primary lens that I use.

mytmoss is offline  
Jul 15th, 2008, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 391
I do use a bean bag and love it.
Made one from a patern on the web... and then fill it when I get to my destination into plasic food bags, inside the bean bag. I usually use rice
Pumbavu is offline  
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